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Fisherman's Unusual Beach Discovery May Solve A Centuries-Old Mystery

John Lorimer was a small-town shrimp catcher who knew the coast of England like the back of his hand. Yet, when he randomly discovered a tiny, curious artifact on the beach, he suddenly found himself way out of his league and on the trail to something massive. After news broke about the historic find, things got prickly between the locals and experts, and suddenly the site's entire future was in jeopardy.

Coast of Norfolk

Our story begins in Norfolk, a county in the East Anglia region of England. Since it's located on the shoreline, the environment gave way to new possible rock formations, among other things. And the locals were well aware of some interesting sights around the coast.

Sleepy Town

But outsiders didn't pay much attention to their tall tales. For most of its history, the rural area of Norfolk didn't get nearly the same amount of attention as London, or even analogous small towns elsewhere in Britain. But all of that changed on a fateful afternoon in 1998.

Meet John Lorimer

Meet John Lorimer. One day, he was catching wild shrimp at the beach near his house in Holme, Norfolk. Joined by his brother-in-law, the local found that the North Sea was at an unusually low tide that day. He'd never seen it quite that way in his entire life.

Another Catch

Hours passed, and the men had some trouble snagging a worthy catch. Maybe it was because the tide was too low, or some other animal had hogged the day's catch. But soon enough, something besides seafood was on their minds. It was something they did not want to bite into.

Mysterious Weapon

Approaching a lump near the waterline, the men saw what looked like a piece of metal in the sand. After a closer look, it became clear that someone else had sharpened it into an axe head! Actually, this wasn't the first time John had found such an object.

Not The First

Just a few months before, he came across a similar one, which suggested that the two artifacts could've been connected. After all, ancient axe heads weren't just scattered across every English beach like seashells. There was a mystery here, and John was determined to solve it.

Metal Detector

John called upon extra help from one of his metal detector friends, who, after recognizing how significant the site was, got in touch with the Castle Museum in Norwich. From there, they officially got their excavation funded when John pointed out an unusual structure on the beach.

Feeling Stumped

It was a tree stump sticking out of the sand, and John might've ignored it if it wasn't so gnarled and old. There were signs of chopping and human craftsmanship around the wood, which led the adventurers to believe it was a fish trap. Then, they noticed other oddities nearby.

A Perfect Circle

A circle of small wooden spikes surrounded the stump — John guessed that most of their shafts must have been buried deep within the sand. His heart raced. Was this just an unusual natural formation, or had they stumbled upon a vestige of a lost civilization?

A Single Event

Tests and analysis strongly indicated that this was a manmade site. According to writer and historian Charlie Watson, "Confirming that all the trees had been felled at the same time suggested strongly that the building of the circle was a single event." But why does this matter?

Tree RIngs

Well, Charlie's theory runs counter to people who believe that the structure was built over a long stretch of time. The jury remains undecided for now since dating suggests some wood preceded the build start by at least three months. Interestingly, scientists confirmed some of the massive trees had not been chopped down, but had fallen down on their own and were then moved. Word soon got around.


It didn't take long before the media caught wind of what was being excavated in Norfolk, and they called it "Stonehenge of the Sea," or "Holme I." News spread to local residents, and some of them couldn't believe it. Supposedly, this Seahenge dated all the way back to 2049 BC, during the Bronze Age!

Back In Time

So how did a monument from thousands of years ago end up on the Norfolk beach? We would have to travel through time to know the truth of what happened at Seahenge, all the way back to the early Bronze Age, an era that witnessed a surge in agricultural and technological advances.

Time For a Monument

Here's the timeline the historians have pieced together: after the local civilization had established itself, it decided that to build a monument. The project took at least 50 different axes to complete, as they made a crucial point of cutting the timber into specific shapes. John Lorimer was lucky to have found two of them himself.

Collective Effort

"Further," explained Charlie Watson, "a great amount of work would have been involved in felling, transporting, preparing, and erecting the timbers, so it was likely too that the job was done by a large number of people - possibly an entire community or an extended family - working together."

But Where'd the Trees Come From?

And this group never intended the tides to overtake their hard work. When it was first built in 2049 BC, Seahenge existed on top of a salt marsh. Centuries later, an offshore barrier grew and blocked seawater from gaining access to the surrounding area. After that, more trees started growing in the freshwater. While this marked an exciting find, not everyone in Norfolk was happy about the museum's involvement.

More than You Know

It's not necessarily that locals didn't believe in Seahenge — they just didn't want the institution to get its hands on it! That's because there were plans to disassemble the monument and ship it out of Norfolk. "Seahenge has more meaning and power on the beach here at Home than it does anywhere else," said one local.

Lingering Resentment

The research continued, and the locals only got louder. Another irritated townie chimed in, "This is 60 grand being spent by archaeologists who are patting each other on the back, telling each other they're doing the right thing. It's a farce."

Finally Exhibited

In the end, the local cries against an exhibition were ignored, and today, most remains of Seahenge live in the Lynn Museum, very close to its original site. Luckily, the enthusiasm behind this monument helped experts crack the mysterious meaning behind its more famous cousin.

Withstanding the Test of Time

With the first henge being built roughly 5000 years ago, Stonehenge is one of the oldest archaeological sites in human history. Dating back 500-1000 years longer than the Great Pyramids of Giza, it has puzzled archaeologists for generations.

"Sarsen" Stones

The majority of the stones that make up the large pieces of standing and fallen henges are called "Sarsen" Stones. Similarly to the pyramids, scientists and archaeologists are baffled about where the stones came from and how they were moved. But a recent breakthrough changed that.

Forbidden Research

One of the main obstacles to modern scientists has been strict preservation laws in Britain that protect Stonehenge as a historic site. This prevented them from using modern technology to analyze samples of the stones' inner core. But one man's good deed changed everything.

Heavy Lifting

In 1958, restorations were done to Stonehenge to return the monument to its former glory. In the process, the restoration team moved some fallen sarsen stones back up to their perched spots above larger standing sarsen stones. Talk about heavy lifting!

Altering History

In order to reinforce the standing sarsen stones to hold the smaller sarsen stones up, restoration workers had to drill holes into the base stones and extract chunks of the core to install metal rods.

One Man's Trash

One of the restoration workers was a fan of history and decided to keep a piece of the core samples that were removed for the metal reinforcement. Little did he know that he held the key to a mystery that wouldn't be solved for another 62 years.

Another Man's Treasure

At the age of 90, the stone worker decided it was time to return his interesting souvenir. Little did he know he would be giving scientists the final piece of the puzzle that had stumped them for decades. Talk about a stroke of good luck!

Scientist Got To Work

Scientists immediately got to work analyzing the core sample in an attempt to answer one main question: Where did the stones come from? What they found changed everything...and led to even more questions.

Careful Work

Researchers performed non-destructive chemical analysis on the core sample in order to determine the origin of the stone. They already knew which stone it came from and needed to determine what elements made up the sample. What they found was a major breakthrough.

DNA of Rocks

Scientists were able to identify a host of various elements within the core sample. This allowed them to match it to other stones within Stonehenge as well as search databases for other areas within Britain where the same elemental combination could be found.

A Common Thread

After examining the core sample, scientists realized that there was a very particular area that had a similar geochemical makeup to the sarsen stones. It was a major breakthrough that allowed them to pinpoint the origin of the stones after years of research!

Close to Home

Researchers were puzzled by what they found. They expected the geochemical makeup to reveal a wide range of origins, but in fact the vast majority of the large sarsen stones came from one region — The West Woods in Wiltshire, a 40-minute drive away.

Previous Discoveries

Scientists did not expect the sarsen stones to be from so close by. The previous discovery that the smaller "blue stones" littered among the sarsen stones came from Wales, much further away, had blown the minds of many scientists. They wondered how ancient stone workers accomplished this.

Part of the Mystery

Presumably, the late Stone Age people were able to accomplish such a feat using simple tools made of rock, bone, and wood. When you think about it that way, it makes a lot of sense that the sarsen stones would be from close by.

Things Tend to Add Up

"We can now say, when sourcing the sarsens, the over-riding objective was size — they wanted the biggest, most substantial stones they could find and it made sense to get them from as nearby as possible," said Susan Greaney, an English Heritage Historian.

Blue Stone Origins

The close proximity of the sarsen stones led researchers to wonder why the blue stones were sourced from so much further away. After all, there must have been stones somewhere closer than over 100 miles away.

Religious Experience

"This is in stark contrast to the source of the bluestones, where something quite different — a sacred connection to these mountains perhaps — was at play," Greaney said about why the blue stones came from so far away. Stonehenge has definitely had a mystical attraction for generations.

Official Answers

On July 29, 2020, researchers finally confirmed their findings and the age-old mystery was resolved. The findings were published in the journal Science Advances, adding to the catalog of other studies that determined the source of the smaller stones. But the ancient relic will always inspire a sense of wonder to the public.

Summer Solstice

One of the highest trafficked times of the year is the summer solstice. Photographers, tourists, and Stonehenge mega fans all come together for an incredible view at sunrise. In fact, this may have been the intention of the original builders of the prehistoric monument.

Birth of Ancient Astronomy?

Some researchers believe that Stonehenge may have served as a tool for ancient astronomers due to the fact that it aligns perfectly with the sunrise during the summer solstice and with the sunset during the winter solstice. Now archaeologists wonder if other sites in the region have such massive functions.

Valley of the Kings

Not unlike Egypt, Ireland has its own Valley of the Kings, a wind-swept and rocky expanse where great chieftains were laid to rest thousands of years ago. Its most famous tomb almost blends in with the countryside.


Of all these burial sites, some of which date back to 7,000 years ago, Newgrange is the crown jewel. This giant mound was rumored to be the home to some gods, and it appears to align with some astral bodies. Its deepest chambers contain human remains.

A Daring Professor

No modern scientist had been able to decode Newgrange's meaning, but Dr. Daniel Bradley of Trinity College believed he could succeed where so many others failed. The geneticist emerged as one of the foremost experts in ancient DNA and surveyed the mound with his colleague Lara Cassidy.

Centuries of Attention

Granted, it wasn't like the Trinity researchers were breaking new ground. County Meath residents had known about Newgrange for centuries — and sometimes "borrowed" stone from the structure for their own homes — while a proper archaeological excavation began in 1962. Was there anything left for Bradley and Cassidy?

Place of Awe

The winding tunnels and rock walls of Newgrange instilled them with all the confidence they needed. Calling it "a liminal space, a place that inspires a sort of awe," the Trinity team went hunting for whatever traces of DNA they could find.

High and Wide

Measuring at 250 feet in diameter and 40 feet high, Newgrange represents a feat of Stone Age engineering. Cassidy and Bradley surmised that anyone connected to the site must have been socially prominent. And anyone buried there must have been legendary.

Underground Sunlight

The main underground chamber isn't impressive merely because of its size or the mound of bones found within. A skylight in the roof allows the sun to light up the room — most brightly during the winter solstice. While little is known about Newgrange's architects, there was no doubt that this was the peak of their achievements.

No Easy Task

Over 200,000 tons of stone, clay, wood, and earth make up the monument, and some elements were hauled from miles away. The amount of resources and length of construction suggest that no one individual could have built this. It must have been an elite class, or perhaps an important family.

The Irish Kings

This otherworldly tomb, guessed Bradley and Cassidy, must serve as the final resting place for whatever type of royalty led these ancient Irish peoples. DNA analysis would provide the clearest glimpse into their lives, as this civilization left very few discernible hints behind.

Mysterious Etchings

All kinds of cryptic glyphs and drawings decorate the walls of Newgrange, but most of their exact meanings are lost to us. Without any sort of Irish Rosetta Stone to guide them, the Trinity researchers turned their attention to a less pleasant-looking feature.

Exhuming Royalty

They collected samples from the bones in the main chamber. Beyond determining the date of death, Bradley and Cassidy hoped to learn where these people came from and whom they were related to. Their initial findings had no lack of intrigue.

Unmasking the Interred

One DNA sample took their breath away. After isolating genes inherited from the person's father and mother, Bradley and Cassidy were shocked to observe that many of these sequences were nearly identical.

Unusual Parentage

These similarities went beyond the parents hailing from the same community. They were so alike, that the deceased's parents must have been from the same family. Could this prominent Irishman really have been the product of incest?

Breaking the Taboo

Well, sibling relationships aren't just limited to Game of Thrones. While the taboo of incest was likely very much present in ancient Ireland, powerful families, like those who built Newgrange, could rise above the rules.

Irish Pharaohs

By marrying and procreating with each other, noble brothers and sisters could consolidate power within their own family. It was not unlike how many Egyptian dynasties carried on, leading Bradley to describe the residents of Newgrange as "Irish pharaohs."

Truth in Folklore

This finding also correlated with long-held Irish folklore. Historical records compiled in the Middle Ages mentioned a King Bressal who was in a relationship with his sister and died near Newgrange. The Trinity researchers might've verified his identity — as well as the roots of Ireland.

Bedrock of Civilization

The pharaoh in this tomb had only a trace of indigenous genes in his remains, indicating that these rulers of Ireland originated somewhere else. Continued study of the site could unveil the early human migration patterns that established Europe as we know it.

Experts Weigh In

The discovery sent waves throughout the academic community, though not without some criticism. David Reich, an expert in prehistoric human migration pointed out that some of the Newgrange burials occurred hundreds of years apart — gaps that could complicate any narratives about the evolution of the Irish people.

Digging Up Truth

Clearly, there is more work to be done. But perhaps by the next time the winter solstice lights up Newgrange, we'll have all the answers about these Irish pharaohs. In fact, remnants of Ireland's earliest civilizations are buried all over the place — if you know where to look.

Secrets of the Turf

When a turf cutter from Northern Ireland called Jack Conway went out to work on the Emlagh bog, everything seemed normal. But he was about to unearth something that hadn't seen the light of day for thousands of years.

A Solid Thud

While he was working, Jack's shovel suddenly hit something quite a bit harder than the peat he was trying to harvest. He quickly dug it up, especially since it would hardly be the first time that something mysterious was unearthed from the bogs before.

Mystical Lands

You see, the land that became the bogs was once the intersection of three different ancient kingdoms and was thought be a place with supernatural powers, almost like something out of a high-fantasy movie. The land's mystical reputation would bring people in droves to the bogs.

Divine Offerings

Feeling a spiritual connection to the land, people would often come and bury offerings to the gods for their protection. Such sacrifices weren't meant to be dug up again, but the bogs actually do have a special property people discovered centuries later.

Natural Preservation

The low temperatures and high acidity of the bogs, combined with a low amount of oxygen, makes them excellent at preserving whatever is buried below. Over time, people have uncovered a veritable treasure trove's worth of artifacts from Irish peat bogs.

Ancient Artifacts

Because the bogs prevent decomposition, old objects including tools, coins, jewelry and other thousand-year old curios have been found in relatively good condition. The preservative properties of the bogs also made them useful for a more sinister purpose, which made Jack's initial discovery a bit worrisome.

Bog Mummies

The marshy depths of the Emlagh bog were also particularly good at mummifying bodies. Several ancient corpses were found on the bottom of the bog — some very clearly not there by accident either. Thankfully, it became clear Jack hadn't found a body, but he still wasn't sure what he had found either.

Mystery Object

In fact, it just looked like a large, oddly shaped rock. However, there was one thing that stood out about Jack's discovery: It had a particularly odd smell to it, described as being similar to a strong but not unpleasant cheese.

Calling in the Cavalry

Unable to make any sense of the chunk buried 12 feet into the bog, Jack called in the officials from the Cavan County museum. After properly examining it and even going as far as carbon dating the object, they finally revealed what Jack had found.

Udder-ly Ridiculous

It was actually butter — 2,000 year old butter to be precise! Funnily enough the butter had been so well preserved that it was still technically edible. But what on Earth was it doing in the middle of a bog?

Natural Freezers

Unlike modern bricks of salted butter that can keep fresh for a few months without a refrigerator, salt wasn't common in medieval Ireland. So the low temperatures and preservative properties of the bogs made them into a natural "freezer" of sorts.

Butter Everywhere

Hundreds of lumps of this hard butter have been discovered in containers made of of animal bladders or wood, many of which also survived for thousands of years in pristine condition. But why would ancient people go through so much trouble just for a condiment?

A Valuable Commodity

Back in medieval times, butter was actually a luxury good that people could pay their taxes and rent with. While we wish we could pay our bills will Land O'Lakes like that, there's still one important question about this ancient butter: How does it taste?

Sniffing out the Truth

First, we should probably start with the smell. While Jack described the lump he unearthed as having a fairly pleasant scent, other people were less charitable. The smell of ancient bog butter has been compared to a stomach-churning combination of spoiled milk and bad Parmesan cheese.

Trying Bog Butter

Who would be brave enough to try tasting this then? Andrew Zimmern actually tried a bit of 3,000 year old bog-butter on his show Bizarre Foods. He described the taste as “a lot of funk” with “a crazy moldy finish.” But there are still people who can't resist trying it for themselves.

Kid Opinions

A 300 year old lump was actually brought into an Irish elementary school for the kids to taste test it for themselves. Funnily enough, they claimed it wasn't too bad. Perhaps it's more of an acquired taste? Either way, this ancient tradition is starting to catch on with locals.

Homemade Bog Butter

In fact, one local man decided he would create his own bog butter. After making 3 pounds of homemade butter, Brian Kaller wrapped it in cheesecloth and buried the lump in the bog behind his house. He'd dig it up after a year of aging in the Irish countryside.

Interesting Popcorn Topping

The end result looks considerably more appetizing than any of the ancient ones that were unearthed. According to Brian, it has an "earthy" flavor that he enjoys when making eggs or drizzling it on top of popcorn. He even invited his neighbors to share it!

Bog Abundance

Though the trend of DIY bog butter probably won't catch on, many hunks continue to be discovered. You can even view a few pieces in Irish museums — just don't be surprised if they won't let you have a taste. Though these aren't the strangest places where old foodstuffs were uncovered...

A Seagoing Wonder

The Kronan took seven years to construct, and once it was finished, it took to the seas like a multi-masted beast. But it wasn't all smooth sailing for the magnificent ship.

Going Down

The ship's luck ran out in 1676. During a maritime battle, the Kronan hit rough waters and capsized while making a sharp turn. The gunpowder on board ignited and that was that.

Collecting Coral

For three hundred years, the Kronan sat peacefully at the bottom of the ocean and housed all sorts of aquatic life. Would anyone ever discover its whereabouts and gather the artifacts inside?

Franzen's Discovery

Amazingly, in 1980, an amateur researcher named Anders Franzen discovered the shipwreck's location. The Swedish government sponsored yearly archaeological dives to collect any lost artifacts. What was hidden in the ship for so many years?

Rusted Cannons

The divers who went on the expeditions were in awe. It was obvious the ship was used for war. Openings in the vessel's sides had old rusted cannons protruding out.

Amazingly Preserved

After a thorough search of the ship, it was easy to picture what the massive structure looked like sailing the high seas. There were dozens of small rooms for housing the men aboard, and each one was equipped with weaponry.

Scraping Away the Muck

The divers had special equipment used to help clear the sand and mud that accumulated on all the surface areas. Buried underneath was a trove of ancient treasures...

Back to the Surface

Whatever the divers recovered from the wreck was going straight into the Kalmar County Museum in Sweden. The museum had an entire Kronan exhibit ready for unveiling once they excavated the items.

Old Firearms

The dive teams found an abundance of old rifles and firearms. The weapons revealed fascinating information about seventeenth-century warfare. Information that experts may not have even known.

Taking Inventory

After the guns were excavated, researchers cleaned off the grime and rust so they looked new. They now sit on display at the Kalmar Museum. But, firearms weren't the only amazing things found...

Music to their Ears

They also found objects that spoke more to everyday life in the 1600s, like musical instruments, including violins and trumpets. The people on board the ship needed forms of entertainment, and playing tunes certainly helped pass the time at sea.

Priceless Jewelry

One of the expeditions came across this pristine gold ring. Can you believe after three hundred years at the bottom of the ocean the gem inside still has a sparkle to it? This looks like something straight out of a Tiffany's display case.

International Coinage

When the Kronan sank, it was carrying loads of gold and silver coins, and the divers found an abundance of them among the rubble. It was Sweden's largest coin discovery ever, with coins minted in Sweden, Egypt, Syria, and even Turkey!

Historical Record

One of the most important things they found was a wooden plaque with the name of the ship scrawled across it. It may not have been worth as much as the gold and silver, but this plaque was an intact part of history, and equally as important as everything else.

The Real Winner

The Kalmar County Museum was more than ecstatic to display all of Kronan's lost treasure. However, they had no idea that the most interesting item was yet to be found...

Strange Black Jar

Just when researchers thought they unearthed nearly everything of importance, one of them came across this black tin jar nestled in the mud — and it was heavy. More gold and silver coins, perhaps?

Strong Odor

When scientists finally pried open the can, they were overwhelmed by a pungent smell. They stared at the grayish lump of mush and suddenly it hit them. It was some kind of preserved cheese product!

Old, Old Cheese

They described the smell as a mix of yeast and Roquefort cheese. During the era when the Kronan was built, cheese was a real status symbol. It separated the rich from the poor. In this case, however, the cheese was well past its prime.

How Did It Last?

No one intended to add this Kronan cheese to a gourmet cheese plate anytime soon, but just the fact it was still in relatively good condition stunned everyone. Where's Andrew Zimmern when you need him? He'd probably give this a taste!

Collecting Relics

The Kronan cheese sits on display at the museum along with the rest of the findings. Since the ship was discovered in 1980, diving teams have collected over 30,000 artifacts, and they haven't even explored every nook and cranny. Maybe they'll come across a nice Merlot to pair with the cheese!

But while they investigated the Kronan, another strange relic from the past had turned up in a place that no one expected.

See, the coast of California is no stranger to significant storms, specifically El Niños—the unusually warm systems that move over the area in late December. But one 2016 storm in Coronado, California was especially devastating.

The residents of Coronado were quick to make their way back outside after the rains and winds passed. They were ready to clean up their town, but they certainly were not prepared for what they'd find there...

When people reached South Coronado Beach, they noticed something very unusual protruding from the sandy shore. It was a massive shape of some kind, and it clearly wasn't part of a reef. What the heck was it?

No one was quite sure what the strange formation was, but everyone was curious enough to want to get a closer look. Many residents had theories, but the truth would be even more wild...

It would take more work to find out what this powerful storm had unearthed. Luckily, as the tide continued to wash the surrounding sand away, the answer was revealed...

It was an enormous shipwreck! Everyone was in awe when they finally realized what the structure was. How amazing is it that a ship that enormous had been lying just beneath their feet all along?

This storm had to be really intense in order to uncover something the size of a city block. As the surface of the ocean increases in temperature—and the warm air meets much colder air in the sky—it causes intense wind and rain.

Any time an El Niño storm hits a populous area, it typically causes a hefty amount of damage. Usually, the best way to prepare is byboarding up windows and doors or simply evacuating the area altogether.

Obviously, the intensity of El Niño's winds and rain regularly tossed around small boats. The discovery on South Coronado Beach, however, was completely different. This was no small boat—this thing was seriously huge!

Now that the enormous vessel was uncovered, everyone wanted to know where exactly it had come from. On top of that, what was it used for when it was a fully-functioning ship sailing the high seas?

As it turned out, the history of the ship was fascinating. Named the SS Monte Carlo, the 300-foot vessel was built in Wilmington, North Carolina, in 1921. It was one of the few concrete and iron ships built after World War I.

The ship was the property of the United States Quartermaster Corps until 1923, when it was sold to the Associated Oil Company of San Francisco. This company then sold it to two actual mobsters, Ed Turner and Martin Schouwiler, in the early 1930s.

The two men had hoped to turn their new property into a "sin ship" during Prohibition. It was to be anchored three miles off the coast of Coronado Beach in international waters, so gambling, prostitution, and alcohol were all technically legal onboard... or so they hoped.

Unsurprisingly, the ship became incredibly popular. Visitors from all around came to indulge in the illegal activities it offered. The ship was by no means the first "sin ship" in existence, but it was the largest. In its prime, it would host upwards of 15,000 gamblers a week!

It's estimated that the ship also raked in nearly $3 million a year, which by today's standards is nearly $52 million! However, on New Year's Day in 1937, a massive storm set the ship adrift, and it eventually ran aground on the shores of South Coronado Beach.

Over the next several years, the remains of the ship were slowly buried underneath the sand. That is, until the 2016 El Niño, which was strong enough to remove the sand and reveal the ancient piece of history once more.

With a little help of the incoming and outgoing tide, the sand slowly revealed more and more of this former "sin ship." It didn't take long before the residents of Coronado could make out the entire thing.

Once people could see the entire vessel, word of the discovery spread rapidly around the area. Everyone wanted to explore this real-life shipwreck for themselves! Can you blame them?

As fascinating as the discovery was, visitors needed to be extremely careful around the remains. Because the ship was built with concrete and iron, erosion had caused the frame to develop extremely sharp edges. Albeit dangerous, exploring it might be worth it...

Some rumors suggested that upwards of $150,000 worth of gold and silver coins were still on board. Even if it was just a rumor, the SS Monte Carlo remains a treasure in its own right! It's encouraged other adventurers too.

Beneath the calm waters of Cape Cod in Massachusetts, there is a massive secret, one that lay hidden for hundreds of years. But it didn't stay that way forever.

It is the wreck of the Whydah, a massive ship built to hold 150 men and several hundred tons of cargo. It went missing off the coast of New England in 1717, and many assumed it was lost forever.

However, explorer Barry Clifford discovered the wreck of the Whydah in 1984, and he has been digging up artifacts from the site ever since. His exploits make him one of the greatest treasure hunters of all time.

Barry has long been on the hunt for a treasure that will make him a legend. He once believed he found the remnants of the Santa Maria from Christopher Columbus' original 1492 voyage, but tests later determined it was a different vessel.

The Whydah, however, was a monumental find. It was the flagship of one of history's greatest pirates: Black Sam Bellamy. This captain was known as the 'Robin Hood of the Sea,' and for good reason.

For one thing, Bellamy only targeted wealthy merchants and tried to use as little violence as possible. His crew members received equal pay and respect, even those who were Native Americans or former slaves.

In fact, the Whydah was originally the property of slave traders until Bellamy seized it by force and freed the captives aboard.

Most famously, Bellamy pulled off the biggest heists in pirate history. Historians estimate that he plundered the modern equivalent of $120 million throughout his career.

These daring exploits made Bellamy one of the most talked-about pirates of his time. He rose above his criminal origins to become a bona fide folk hero.

Unfortunately, Bellamy didn't have much time to enjoy his success. A massive storm sank the Whydah, claiming untold amounts of treasure and most of the crew, including Bellamy himself.

Centuries later, Clifford and his colleagues have unearthed countless relics and treasures from the wreck, and they established the Whydah Pirate Museum to share Bellamy's story.

Even though Clifford's team has been studying this site for decades, he still felt like they were only scratching the surface. Then, one diving mission in late 2016 changed everything.

The explorers located a large chunk of debris from the Whydah that had many artifacts trapped inside of it. They hauled it up to dry land for a closer look.

It presented a virtual treasure trove, with genuine coins and seafaring equipment jutting through the rough surface. But this motherlode contained one thing the scientists didn't expect to find... human bones.

They came across a femur just a short distance away from what appeared to be Bellamy's pistol. Could it be the remains of the late great Captain himself?

Clifford knew they needed proof, so he recruited a team of forensic scientists. They extracted DNA from the bone and compared it to that of one of Bellamy's descendants in the United Kingdom. At last, the results came in...

But it was not a match. This bone likely belonged to an anonymous crew member, but certainly not to Captain Bellamy. The elusive Black Sam slipped away from authorities once again.

The bad news sunk Clifford's theory faster than the Whydah. Nevertheless, the bone gave researchers the chance to learn more about the typical sailor from that era.

Clifford can still take pride in his ongoing excavation of the Whydah. After all, no other famous pirate ship has been studied so closely. Nobody can question his accomplishments or contributions to history.

Besides, the mysteries of the Whydah are still out there in the briny deep, and Bellamy's final resting place may even surface someday. All it will take is the right person to find it.